How to Get Your REAL ID-Compliant Hawai‘i ID
“REAL ID” requirements will be going into effect on October 1, 2020, which means you’ll need a literal gold star on your Driver’s License or State ID if you want to use one of those forms of ID to board commercial flights on or after October 1, 2020. The rollout has been slow, but REAL ID legislation was actually passed by Congress in the wake of 9/11. It took awhile to implement because the federal government cannot constitutionally require states to change their drivers license standards to implement a federal law (it violates the 10th Amendment’s prohibition on commandeering). The federal government got around this roadblock by changing the documents that the TSA will accept as ID, and the vast majority of states are now in compliance. (Constitutional lawyer side note: this is reminiscent of how the federal government got all the states to pass a legal minimum drinking age of 21 — they withheld federal highway funds from states who refused to comply).
Anyway - you can read more about REAL ID on the TSA website, but the bottom line is this: if you plan to use your Hawai’i State ID card or Driver’s License to board a plane, you’ll need to get an ID with the requisite gold star on it.
Also: because of new legal requirements, Hawaii residents must now choose between getting a State ID or a Driver’s License with the gold star. You cannot have both forms with a gold star.
Getting a REAL ID-Compliant State ID
You cannot apply for a duplicate state ID online because the new law requires that you show up in person to obtain a State ID card. You must show up in person, so either walk in or make an appointment at a Satellite City Hall.
Getting a REAL-ID-Compliant Drivers License
If you don’t yet have a gold star on your ID, you can apply for a duplicate driver’s license online if: (1) you were issued a driver’s license between March 1, 2014 to January 31, 2018; (2) you appeared in person to get your driver’s license; and (3) you already proved your legal presence in the United States and that your principal residence is in Hawai’i. Acceptable documents are listed here.
If you don’t meet the above criteria to get an easy online duplicate, you should make an appointment at a Satellite City Hall. You may now make appointments up to six months in advance (up from 3 previously).
How to Get a Gold Star/REAL ID-Compliant Driver’s License Online
Step 1: Apply for a duplicate online.
Note that as of this writing on June 15, 2019, the Honolulu City & County Gold Star FAQ still says that you cannot get a gold star driver’s license duplicate online, but this information is outdated.
Step 2: Submit payment and wait for a temporary, paper ID.
The cost for a duplicate license is $6 if you renew in person and $7 if you renew online. and wait for your temporary ID to arrive in the mail. It took just a few days after submission for my temporary paper ID with the gold star to come in the mail.
The paper copy comes with a warning that says “If you intend to use your temporary card for identification purposes, we recommend that you also carry a second form of identification (passport, birth certificate, military ID, etc.).
Step 3: Receive your new ID with gold star in the mail.
I received my card less than a month after applying for it, so although it costs $1 more to renew online, paying that extra dollar is totally worth it for the convenience.
Note: Passports are also still fine for domestic travel, as are other forms of federal ID. Check the dhs.gov website for a listing of acceptable documents. And if you decide to use your passport as ID, just do me a favor and stick it in the hotel safe when you get to your hotel or wherever, mmmkay? Passports are precious.
More REAL ID Reading Here:
Passport or Driver’s LIcense at the Airport? What REAL ID Act Means for Your Travel Plans, Daniel Avery (Newsweek)
Do you have questions about Real ID? We’ve got answers. Luz Lazo (The Washington Post).
Disclaimer: This article does not constitute legal advice.